Hurricane Sandy is still sadly the focus of the Northeast (as well as that of family and friends from those areas affected) and the 2012 election is finally coming to a merciful end Tuesday. And what that really means is we're about to enter eight weeks of very intense Academy campaigning. Technically, contenders have been holding screenings and Q&As from Los Angeles to San Francisco to New York (although it's been tough the past week) for months. Beginning Thursday, the always awards-friendly AFI Fest began and the pressure cooker got a wee bit busier. With that in mind, here's a snapshot of one pundit's busy award season weekend.
HOLLYWOOD – There have been many movies about the history of the movie industry, but it’s surprising it took this long for someone to bring the life of Alfred Hitchcock to the big screen. The legendary filmmaker captained an impressive list of classic films including “Vertigo,” “North by Northwest,” “The 39 Steps,” “The Lady Vanishes” and “Dial M for Murder” among others. And with his TV series “Alfred Hitchcock Presents…” he became one of the most recognizable directors and celebrities of the 1950’s. His biggest hit, however, was one of his latter films, 1960’s “Psycho.” Hitchcock’s obsession with making that “horror” film sets the stage for Sacha Gervasi’s “Hitchcock,” which opened the 2012 AFI Film Fest Thursday night.
"Is it over yet?"
Usually, that's a common refrain you hear during awards season at the beginning of February after countless pseudo awards shows, screenings, cocktail parties, interviews and film festivals. Instead, it seems to be the nation's collective mindset about the upcoming presidential election. Since the conventions at the end of August, the nation's attention has been distracted or bombarded by election coverage, debates and commercials. And while few of the latter even air in Los Angeles, the movie industry is spending just as much time checking the latest poll results as a soccer mom in Kansas might be. Compound the last few months with three highly rated debates and 72 hours of Hurricane Sandy coverage (and concern) and you'll understand why it sort of feels like this year's Oscar race has been in a bit of a holding pattern.
BEVERLY HILLS - Is last year's Ryan Gosling this year's Joseph Gordon-Levitt? The "Inception" star has been on a tear in 2012 with four films hitting theaters within five months. Gordon-Levitt became the new hope for Batman in "The Dark Knight Rises"; a bicycle messenger in the surprisingly well reviewed "Premium Rush"; a younger Bruce Willis in the hit Sci-Fi thriller "Looper"; and now he has a key supporting role in Steven Spielberg's new potential Oscar player "Lincoln."
Journey to 'The Hobbit' set for Peter Jackson, Martin Freeman and the spectre of 48 frames per second
WELLINGTON, NZ – It’s our second day on the set of “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” and we’ve finally gotten a chance to chat with the man steering the ship of the massive undertaking, Peter Jackson. But it was never supposed to be the New Zealand filmmaker’s job.
WELLINGTON, NZ – After almost a year and a half of shooting two, er, now three “Hobbit” films, no one would fault Sir Ian McKellen for being a tad bored. That’s a long time to work on any movie or spend away from home (granted there were two long breaks). The 73-year-old acting icon has ventured to the set of “The Hobbit” this May day to spend what was supposed to just be 20 minutes talking to visiting press, but it soon became clear McKellen was excited to have a live audience again. 20 minutes soon turned into something closer to 40.
Now it's time for the supporting ladies. The actresses who usually steal the movie out from under their leading lady or gentleman co-stars. And unlike the past few years, 2012 seems to be something of a wide open race at the moment.
BEVERLY HILLS - Helen Hunt may be incredibly nervous on the inside, but she projected an unexpected regal confidence during our short interview for her work in "The Sessions" last week. Obviously, playing a real life character is always daunting. Playing a real life person who was a sexual surrogate to a disabled poet hoping to have his first sexual experience in his late 30's is something else.
2013 Best Supporting Actor Oscar Contenders: Leonardo DiCaprio and Tommy Lee Jones round out a crowded field
Predictably, awards season begins with almost every major category either being characterized as too competitive or more wide open then you could possibly imagine. The 2012 best supporting actor field is somehow an intriguing mix of both (at the moment).
BEVERLY HILLS - It's been a busy year so far for Bryan Cranston. Two films he shot long ago were finally released ("Red Tails" and "John Carter") and he appeared in three big summer releases ("Madagascar 3," "Rock of Ages" and "Total Recall"). Oh, and he just happened to land his fourth Emmy nomination for best actor in recognition for his stellar work as the iconic Walter White in "Breaking Bad." Plus, "Bad" aired eight of its last sixteen episodes to continued critical acclaim (which sort of makes up for the duds "Rock of Ages" and "Total Recall"). In September, he received another gift, Ben Affleck's "Argo."